Introduction: Hello gadeners, how about growing one of the wonderful spices at home? well, here is the information on growing Cardamom indoors. Cardamom is also called Elaichi. It is one of the oldest known spices in the world. Cardamom is an aromatic food ingredient of incense or perfume, it was formally applied to all pungent. The Elaichi flavoring used in foods or drink. The scientific name of Cardamom is Elettaria cardamomum.
Cardamom prevents certain serious ailments like cancer and helps improve digestive health. The cardamom or Elaichi plant is a 5 to 10-foot tall tropical plant that thrives in partial shade. The leaves are lance-shaped and can grow up to two feet in length.
A step by step guide to growing Cardamom Indoors
Different types of Cardamom:
There are two main types of cardamom:
- Small green cardamom (Elettaria Cardamomum Maton)
- Large red or black cardamom (Amomumsubulatum Roxb)
The most common type is the small green cardamom while large cardamom is mostly grown in India. Small cardamom called as true cardamom or chhoti elachi.
Large cardamom also is known as bada elalchi. The perennial herbaceous plant is the dried fruits of large or black cardamom.
Different varieties of Cardamom are Coorg cardamom Malabar Selection-1 (CCS-1), ICRI-1, ICRI-2, Mudigree-1, PV-1, and SKP-14.
Soil requirement for growing Cardamom in containers
For growing Cardamom in containers, we can use sandy and loamy soil that’s rich in organic manure and matter if you do not have a seed starting mix. The soil should be slightly acidic and have a neutral level of around 6 to 6.8.
Use the right substrate that should be well-drained to successfully grow the Cardamom plant. Using the right substrate that’s well-drained also helps the water to simply drain out. Maintain the soil moist throughout. But it must not be waterlogged or damp or it will kill the plant.
Fill choosing containers with loamy soil. The soil must be slightly sandy so it drains gradually. You can purchase loamy soil from most garden centers for growing Cardamom. If you’re planning on transplanting the seedlings to the outside garden, you can use any size container. If you’re going to leave the seeds in the container and grow the plants to maturity, use a container that’s at least 1 foot (0.30 m) deep and 6 inches (15 cm) wide.
Propagation of Cardamom
Cardamom propagation by vegetative means through suckers is considered to be the most preferred method. Production of planting materials from seeds and through tissue culture is an alternative process of propagation. Seedling propagated plants could not be true to its parent.
Cardamom is a finicky plant and requires the right conditions to thrive. The plants grow best in tropical conditions like humid, hot, and partially sunny. You may be able to grow cardamom indoors if you have good lighting and heat set up, or you can grow it in a greenhouse.
Cardamom requires partial shade or filtered sunlight, as it grows best under the shade of taller trees in its natural environment. Prepare a spot with rich, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH level of 6 to 6.8.
Place Cardamom seeds slightly below the surface of the soil, several inches apart. You can put a few seeds in each hole for a better chance at germination, and thin out plants later, if needed. Apply water thoroughly after planting.
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If it is replanting, old plants must be removed or planning is a new area the ground should be cleared. The slopes before taking pits, terraces must be made across slopy areas.
Planting in trenches in terraces is recommended for good soil and moisture conservation. Immediately after planting, the plant base must be mulched well with available dried leaves.
Sowing Cardamom in containers
After placing the Cardamom seeds in a clean container, pour hot water over them. Allow them to soak in that water for 1 to 2 days before planting them. Fill a container that contains drainage holes with a combination of one part seed-starting mix and one part sand. Sow seeds on the surface of that mix, about 3/4-inch apart and cover them with 1/4 inch of damp sand. You can then top the pot with plastic wrap, to maintain the mix and sand moist, placing it in an area where temperatures remain between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cardamom seeds generally are slow to germinate, so you probably won’t see sprouts until about a month later. However, their emergence can occur at any point from 2 weeks to 3 months after the seeds were planted. At that position, move them to a windowsill where they will receive sun for only part of the day or bright, indirect light. Alternatively, you can put them under a grow light, preferably near one of the ends, where the illumination is dimmer than in the center.
Caring of Cardamom plants
- Cardamom grows in subtropical forests; it needs high humidity to thrive in the garden. Cardamom prefers temperatures between 70°F to 85°F.
- The cardamom plants will require even more water during the summer when they’re growing the fruit. Plan on watering more during summer months.
- If the Cardamom plant’s leaves turn brown, it’s getting too much sunlight, so consider transplanting it to a shadier spot. If the leaves are yellow color, the plant probably needs fertilizer.
- Spray the Cardamom plant’s leaves with water if the tips turn brown. Ensure you don’t spray too much water or the roots can begin to rot.
- Maintain the soil damp at all times. Feed them at least once in every 2 weeks using a liquid kelp plant food. Add two tbsp of Cardamom plant food to a gallon of water before feeding it into the plant.
- Transplant the seedlings after about 5 to 6 months when they have already shown four leaves. Plant them individually into 4-inch pots that have potting soil.
- Again, maintain the soil moist at all times and never let it dry out. Keep it humid and well maintained when plants growing in a greenhouse. Put the plant in an area that receives partial sunlight since it’s not tolerant of cold. Increase watering in summer or when the Cardamom plant starts setting fruits.
- Apply organic fertilizers to plants that are high in phosphorous. Feed it to the plant at least twice in a month in the whole growing season. Most importantly, apply about 5 kg of aged compost or manure each year.
- Place indoor Cardamom plants where they receive 6 to 8 hours of bright but filtered light. Transplant older plants every few years to avoid root binding. Cardamom is fairly easy to grow indoors but remember that mature plants can achieve up to 10 feet, so choose a location for growing Cardamom with plenty of space for the plant to stretch out into.
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Common diseases of Elachi
Cardamom plants are commonly affected by the diseases caused by vims, fungi, and bacteria. Katte (viral) and chenthal are the common diseases affecting the Cardamom plants.
Harvesting procedure of Cardamom
Cardamom plants generally start bearing two years after planting. Picking is carried out at an interval of 15 to 25 days. Ripe capsules are harvested to obtain maximum green color during curing.
After harvest, capsules are dried either in the electrical drier or in the sun. Soaking the harvested green Cardamom capsules in 2% washing soda solution for ten minutes before drying helps to retain the green color during the drying process. When drier is used, it must be dried at 45-50°C for 14-18 hours, while for kiln; overnight drying at 50-60°C is required. The capsules kept for drying are spread thinly and stirred frequently to make sure uniform drying. The dried capsules are rubbed with hands or coir mat or wire mesh and winnowed to eliminate any foreign matter. They are then sorted out based on size and color, and stored in black polythene lined gunny bags to retain the green color during storage.
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